The Maya and Smartphones

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; The Maya and Smartphones

Several times I have covered the usage of technology by the Maya of Guatemala, either here in the archives of AntiguaDailyPhoto or in my own personal blog.

For instance back on February 2010 I shared with you how the Maya are not waiting for neither little brother or big brother to come teach them how to use smartphones.

That day I learned that the Maya are not sitting down waiting for “us” to bring them the technology and the knowledge of “how to use it.” That day I learned to be hopeful of the New Guatemala that peeks from just around the corner of the near future. That day I was reassured that Internet access in every corner of Guatemala will become a realty sooner than I expected; that edge and 3G mobile smart phones with Internet access are being used by a wider range of people than I expected; that Open School computer workshops are benefiting a lot of people who are usually off our attention radar.

It’s like what George Whitesides said in his recent TED talk, A lab the size of a postage stamp about the cellphones: “I don’t know if the idea of one computer, one child makes any sense anymore; here’s the computer of the future… The screen is already there and the device is pretty ubiquitous.”

That day I left the park with my shoes shined, my appetite satisfied, my heart full and a big smile on my face. Life is good!

Back then, it was already happening. However, inexpensive smartphones were still a way to go. Nowadays, a Chinese Android-based smartphone is very accesible so everyone, not just the Maya, can enjoy the benefits of camera, video recorder, audio recorder, et cetera, all packaged tightly into an intelligent telephone.

Back in January 2010, in the comments posted under Digital life in Antigua Guatemala, Braaad wondered aloud:

“I can’t wait till smartphones are cost-effective enough to saturate the entire country, i.e. the average Jose will be able to browse, watch vids, get email…PAY BILLS ONLINE, ahem.

Can you imagine LAG without all the lines to pay utilities at the bank? That’s some Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
I give it 2 years to become a reality.

Within the same entry SJBJ commented:

one of the sharpest memories I have of Guatemala is our first trip there, in 2007. We were in Chichi and there was an elderly woman there, in traditional dress, could have been 100 years ago. EXCEPT, she was speaking (in a native language) into a cell phone. Really took us aback, the contrast between traditional and modern.

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